Hurricane Katrina Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Hurricane Katrina Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The boom of thunder and crackle of lightning generally mean one thing: a storm is coming. Curiously, though, the biggest storms of all, hurricanes, are notoriously lacking in lightning. Hurricanes blow, they rain, they flood, but seldom do they crackle. During the record-setting hurricane season of 2005, three of the most powerful storms--Rita, Katrina, and Emily--did have lightning, lots of it. And researchers would like to know why. Richard Blakeslee of the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) in Huntsville, Alabama, was one of a team of scientists who explored Hurricane Emily. "Hurricanes are most likely to produce lightning when they're making landfall," says Blakeslee. But there were no mountains beneath the "electric hurricanes" of 2005 -- only flat water. It's tempting to think that, because Emily, Rita and Katrina were all exceptionally powerful, their sheer violence somehow explains their lightning. But Blakeslee says that this explanation is too simple. "Other storms have been equally intense and did not produce much lightning," he says. "There must be something else at work."
Note: A number of researchers suspect there may have been clandestine involvement in Katrina and other recent hurricanes, possibly using HAARP technologies, which have been well documented. For an excellent summary of this, click here. For more on HAARP, click here.
Forty-nine people have been indicted in a scam to pocket Red Cross hurricane relief funds and more indictments are expected. Authorities said 22 people working for a Red Cross contractor at a call center in Bakersfield, California, filed false claims, and by involving family members and friends, brought the number of people under indictment to 49. Officials said they planned to widen the investigation. "Our investigation is going to be expanded to include other parts of California and other states, and there are thousands of claims made in other states," FBI Special Agent Javier Colon said. The Red Cross had safeguards in place after Katrina, but "they were not fully adequate," spokesman Steve Cooper said.
Despite a month-old pledge, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has yet to reopen four of its biggest no-bid contracts for Hurricane Katrina work and won’t do so until the contracts are virtually complete. A promise to hire more minority-owned firms also is largely unfulfilled. The no-bid contracts for temporary housing, worth up to $100 million each, were given to Shaw Group Inc., Bechtel Corp., CH2M Hill Inc. and Fluor Corp. right after Katrina struck. Bechtel CEO Riley Bechtel served on Bush’s Export Council from 2003-2004, and the Shaw Group’s lobbyist, Joe Allbaugh, is a former FEMA director and friend of Bush. Charges of favoritism helped prompt last month’s pledge by FEMA acting director R. David Paulison, but now officials with the Homeland Security Department, which oversees FEMA, say the contracts won’t be awarded again until February. FEMA promised to boost the number of contracts given to minority-owned businesses but in the last month the percentage has increased only slightly, from 1.5 percent to 1.8 percent. That’s still well below the 5 percent of federal contracts normally set aside for minority-owned firms.
Exxon Mobil Corp. had a quarter for the record books. The world's largest publicly traded oil company said Thursday high oil and natural-gas prices helped its third-quarter profit surge almost 75 percent to $9.92 billion, the largest quarterly profit for a U.S. company ever, and it was the first to ring up more than $100 billion in quarterly sales. The hurricanes slashed Exxon Mobil's U.S. production volumes by 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down nearly 5 percent year-over-year, costing the company $45 million before taxes. The company said total daily production slipped to 2.45 million barrels of oil equivalent from 2.51 million barrels.
Note: Isn't it amazing that though oil production fell, and though we all are paying much higher gas prices, Exxon Mobil earned the largest profits ever in the same quarter as Hurricane Katrina? Wouldn't it be nice if during a national catastrophe the oil companies were willing to drop their prices and suffer a little with the rest of us?
For 16 critical hours, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, including former director Michael D. Brown, dismissed urgent eyewitness accounts by FEMA's only staffer in New Orleans that Hurricane Katrina had broken the city's levee system the morning of Aug. 29 and was causing catastrophic flooding. Marty Bahamonde, sent to New Orleans by Brown, said he alerted Brown's assistant shortly after 11 a.m. that Monday with the "worst possible news" for the city: The Category 4 hurricane had carved a 20-foot breach in the 17th Avenue Canal levee. Bahamonde said he called Brown personally after 7 p.m. to warn that 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater and that he had photographed a 200-foot-wide breach. Testifying to a bipartisan Senate panel investigating the response to the hurricane, Bahamonde said his accounts were discarded by officials in Baton Rouge and Washington. President Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Richard B. Myers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have all said they were told that the city's flood walls did not fail until Aug. 30. Bahamonde said he found it "amazing" that New Orleans officials continued to let thousands gather at the Superdome, even though they knew that the area around it was going to flood. Ten people later died at the Superdome.
In the early days of September, as military helicopters plucked desperate New Orleanians from rooftops and Red Cross shelters swelled with the displaced, nearly 400,000 packaged meals landed on a tarmac at Little Rock Air Force Base and were whisked by tractor-trailer to Louisiana. But most of the $5.3 million worth of food never reached the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Instead, because of fears about mad cow disease and a long-standing ban on British beef, the rations routinely consumed by British soldiers have sat stacked in an Arkansas warehouse. Now, with some of the food set to expire in early 2006 and U.S. taxpayers spending $16,000 a month to store the meals, the State Department is quietly looking for a needy country to take them. No fewer than six federal agencies or departments had a role in accepting, distributing and rejecting the food.
The federal government has moved hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina into hotel rooms at a cost of about $11 million a night, a strategy local officials and some members of Congress criticize as incoherent and wasteful. The number of people in hotels has grown by 60 percent in the past two weeks as some shelters closed, reaching nearly 600,000 as of Tuesday. The reliance on hotels has been necessary, housing advocates say, because [FEMA] has had problems installing mobile homes and travel trailers for evacuees and has been slow to place victims in apartments that real estate executives say are available throughout the southeast. Critics point out that hotel rooms, at an average cost of $59 a night, are significantly more expensive than apartments and are not suitable for months-long stays. Even conservative housing experts have criticized the Bush administration's handling of the temporary housing response. "I am baffled," said Ronald D. Utt, a former...Reagan administration aide who is now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "This is not incompetence. This is willful."
Note: Do you ever wonder if the current administration might be trying to bankrupt our country? For more excellent information on the hurricanes: http://www.WantToKnow.info/050927hurricanecoverupcorruption
The most toxic debris in New Orleans isn't the sinister gray sludge that coats the streets..., but all the unanswered questions that have accumulated in the wake of so much official betrayal and hypocrisy. Where outsiders see simple "incompetence" or "failure of leadership," locals are more inclined to discern deliberate design and planned neglect -- the murder, not the accidental death, of a great city. Here are 25 of the urgent questions that deeply trouble the local people we spoke with on a trip to New Orleans and South Louisiana. Until a grand jury or congressional committee begins to uncover the answers, the moral (as opposed to simply physical) reconstruction of the New Orleans region will remain impossible. 20. Who is responsible for the suspicious fires that have swept the city? Why have so many fires occurred in blue-collar areas that have long been targets of proposed gentrification? 23. Why isn't FEMA scrambling to create a central registry of everyone evacuated from the greater New Orleans region? Will evacuees receive absentee ballots and be allowed to vote in the crucial February municipal elections that will partly decide the fate of the city?
Across the hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast, thousands upon thousands of blue tarps are being nailed to wind-damaged roofs, a visible sign of government assistance. The blue sheeting...isn't coming cheap. Knight Ridder has found that a lack of oversight, generous contracting deals and poor planning mean that government agencies are shelling out as much as 10 times what the temporary fix would normally cost. The government is paying contractors an average of $2,480 for less than two hours of work to cover each damaged roof - even though it's also giving them endless supplies of blue sheeting for free. Steve Manser, the president of Simon Roofing and Sheet Metal of Youngstown, Ohio, which was awarded an initial $10 million contract to begin "Operation Blue Roof" in New Orleans, acknowledged that the price his company is charging to install blue tarps could pay for shingling an entire roof.
Note: Google news shows that though many small papers reported this story, no major media did.
Topping the federal government's list of costs related to Hurricane Katrina is the $568 million in contracts for debris removal landed by a Florida company with ties to Mississippi's Republican governor. More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency alone were awarded without bidding or with limited competition, government records show, provoking concerns among auditors and government officials about the potential for favoritism or abuse. Already, questions have been raised about the political connections of two major contractors - the Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton - that have been represented by the lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former leader of FEMA. Bills have come in for deals that apparently were clinched with a handshake, with no documentation. Kellogg, Brown & Root, which was given $60 million in contracts, was rebuked by federal auditors for unsubstantiated billing from the Iraq reconstruction and criticized for bills like $100-per-bag laundry service.
The men from Blackwater USA arrived in New Orleans right after Katrina hit. The company known for its private security work guarding senior U.S. diplomats in Iraq beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene. About 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans. When asked what authority they were operating under, one guy said, "We're on contract with the Department of Homeland Security." Then, pointing to one of his comrades, he said, "He was even deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana. We can make arrests and use lethal force if we deem it necessary." Says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, "These private security forces have behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq. To have them now on the streets of New Orleans is frightening and possibly illegal." Blackwater is operating under a federal contract...[that] was announced just days after Homeland Security Department spokesperson Russ Knocke told the Washington Post he knew of no federal plans to hire Blackwater. With President Bush using the Katrina disaster to try to repeal Posse Comitatus (the ban on using U.S. troops in domestic law enforcement)...the war is coming home in yet another ominous way. As one Blackwater mercenary said, "This is a trend. You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."
Louisiana's top hurricane experts have rejected the official explanations for the floodwall collapses that inundated much of New Orleans, concluding that Hurricane Katrina's storm surges were much smaller than authorities have suggested and that the city's flood-protection system should have kept most of the city dry. With the help of complex computer models and stark visual evidence, scientists and engineers at Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center have concluded that Katrina's surges did not come close to overtopping those barriers. That would make faulty design, inadequate construction or some combination of the two the likely cause of the breaching of the floodwalls. Ivor van Heerden, the Hurricane Center's deputy director, said the real scandal of Katrina is the "catastrophic structural failure" of barriers that should have handled the hurricane with relative ease. "We are absolutely convinced that those floodwalls were never overtopped," said van Heerden. On a tour Tuesday, researchers...showed a "debris line" that indicates the top height of Katrina's waves was at least four feet below the crest of Lake Pontchartrain's levees. They contended that the pattern of destruction behind the breaches was consistent with a localized "pressure burst," rather than widespread overtopping. Former representative Bob Livingston, (R-La.)...noted that the earthen levees along Lake Pontchartrain had all held, while concrete floodwalls had failed. He was especially concerned about the 17th Street barrier, saying it "shouldn't have broken." If Katrina did not exceed the design capacity of the New Orleans levees, the federal government may bear ultimate responsibility for this disaster.
An Idaho weatherman says Japan's Yakuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge itself for the Hiroshima atom bomb attack. Meteorologist Scott Stevens, a nine-year veteran of KPVI-TV in Pocatello, said he was struggling to forecast weather patterns starting in 1998 when he discovered the theory on the Internet. It's now detailed on Stevens' website, www.weatherwars.info. Stevens...says a little-known oversight in physical laws makes it possible to create and control storms -- especially if you're armed with the Cold War-era weapon said to have been made by the Russians in 1976. Stevens' bosses at KPVI-TV say their employee can think and say what he wants as long as he keeps the station out of the debate and acknowledges that his views are his own opinion. Bill Fouch, KPVI's general manager, said. "He's very knowledgeable about weather, and he's very popular."
Note: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in a 1997 news briefing stated: "Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves." To verify this quote on the U.S. Department of Defense website, click here. If terrorist organizations have the capability to set off earthquakes and other major natural disasters, do you think huge military research laboratories might have some of the same capabilities? For more, click here and here.
Eight years ago Congress...set aside $500,000 for FEMA to create "a comprehensive analysis and plan of all evacuation alternatives for the New Orleans metropolitan area." Frustrated two years later that no study had materialized, Congress strengthened its directive. This time it ordered "an evacuation plan for a Category 3 or greater storm, a levee break, flood or other natural disaster for the New Orleans area." The $500,000 that Congress appropriated for the evacuation plan went to a commission that studied future options for the 24-mile bridge over Lake Pontchartrain.
When the Federal Emergency Management Agency's paperwork slowed the evacuation of patients from the airport, Acadian's frustrated medics waited with empty helicopters. "At one point I had 10 helicopters on the ground waiting to go," said Marc Creswell, an Acadian medic, "but FEMA kept stonewalling us with paperwork. Meanwhile, every 30 or 40 minutes someone was dying." The company sent in outside doctors and nurses. FEMA rejected the help because the doctors and nurses weren't certified members of a National Disaster Medical Team. "When the doctors asked why they couldn't help these critically ill people lying there unattended," Mr. Creswell recalled, "the FEMA people kept saying, 'You're not federalized.' "
The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center...forecast the path of the storm and the potential for devastation with remarkable accuracy. National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield also gave daily pre-storm videoconference briefings to federal officials in Washington, warning them of a nightmare scenario of New Orleans’ levees not holding...and flooding wiping out large swaths of the Gulf Coast. Mayfield also...personally called the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin two days ahead of time to warn them about the monstrous hurricane.
The dire conditions created by Hurricane Katrina may be confined to the Gulf Coast, but on paper the emergency is all over the country. President Bush has declared that Katrina-related emergencies exist in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Some, such as California, Massachusetts and North Dakota, are far removed from Katrina's wrath. Apparently it does not take much to qualify as an emergency.
Note: These "emergencies" also give the president extraordinary powers to curtail civil liberties.
The dire conditions created by Hurricane Katrina may be confined to the Gulf Coast, but on paper the emergency is all over the country. President Bush has declared that Katrina-related emergencies exist in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Apparently it does not take much to qualify as an emergency.
Note: These "emergencies" also give the president extraordinary powers to curtail civil liberties.
Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast. One is...Halliburton Co. (Research) subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton. Allbaugh formally registered as a lobbyist for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root in February. Allbaugh is also a friend of Michael Brown, director of FEMA who was removed as head of Katrina disaster relief and sent back to Washington amid allegations he had padded his resume. Halliburton continues to be a source of income for Cheney, who served as its chief executive officer from 1995 until 2000. According to tax filings released in April, Cheney's income included $194,852 in deferred pay from the company.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now run by political hacks appointed by Bush who know zilch about disaster relief. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," the president said to Michael Brown a few days before the FEMA chief was relieved of his oversight of the relief efforts. Brown, who reportedly doctored his unimpressive resume and didn't have a background in emergency management, resigned Monday. He had secured this plum job because he was a college buddy of his predecessor, Joe Allbaugh, who managed Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.